This title “The First Step To A Healthy Life Is Realizing You Are Unhealthy” sounds like a “no duh” statement. But the truth is, most people who want to be healthier look at life from a “I know I need to eat better and exercise more” view point. The road to a healthy lifestyle is much, much more than that.
I’ve always felt like my life has been on this interesting journey of sorts, especially the past 8 years, but it didn’t get seriously whacked until I went through a divorce in 2005. The start of these past 8 years was “things get worse before life gets better” and when life got better there was also redemption at the end of the rainbow.
There came a time during it all that I realized how unhealthy I really was and how much my own unhealthiness had played such a huge part in leading up to the divorce.
On the outside, I looked like life was all-good. But on the inside I was an emotional, spiritual and physical wreck. The problem here is it’s really hard to see the unhealthiness when you are going through it. It’s easy to place blame on everything else going on around you when in the end… all of the responsibility for your life falls on… YOU. I mean me in this case… you know what I mean.
I remember the day I realized how unhealthy I really was. It was so depressing. I tried to play it tough. I was trying to hold it all together and be the strong guy, but when I looked in the mirror I clearly saw someone not strong, someone who doesn’t have it together and someone desperately in need of help.
I had my family and a few friends when I needed them, but I was still lacking so much more that I really longed for – A healthy mind, body and spirit. I wanted this, but there was no way I could even begin to get there until I recognized I was unhealthy and what parts of my life needed the most repair.
And that’s where we start the road to a healthy life… at the bottom of an unhealthy life owning our stuff and taking responsibility for what we’ve done to ourselves so that we can be responsible for becoming healthy again.
It’s not an easy road, but it all started with me making a choice to get healthy and to do this on my own with the support of my family and friends. But here’s a key factor in this decision – I had to do it for me first so that I could be strong on my own and really discover who I am on the inside and how to navigate life from a stronger foundation. The residual from this is my family and friends benefit from a healthier and livelier me.
For me it started with lacing up my running shoes, which resulted in stepping into a community of people (like me) looking to make their lives a healthier place as well. This one act led me to my first Ironman race a few years later. Something I thought I would never do.
For some of you, your start is going to be different. It might be some other hobby that brings your peace and clarity of mind.
But whatever it is. It has to start with you. The focus and the journey become easier as you go and the opportunity to expand into healthier areas becomes clearer.
I started with the physical side. It was the easiest place for me to start. I didn’t realize by starting there it would open up space to clear my head, gain more confidence and give me a place to meditate and pray.
I’ve been through a lot since then. A lot of healing, redemption and growth have occurred. But by no means am I saying my life is perfect now. It just means I’m more in tune with what is happening in my life and I have a foundation to continue to improve and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
We all know that life ebbs and flows. There are ups and downs even for the healthiest people. But being in a healthier place helps us to tackle the good times and the bad times with a lot more grace, focus and understanding.
What are you doing to get into a healthy place for your mental, physical and spiritual life? Where is your start and are you owning it?